Canterbury coach Des Hasler insists repeat offender Josh Reynolds is learning to temper his aggression, despite being suspended for the third time this season.
The fiery five-eighth copped a two-game NRL ban this week for dangerous contact in a chargedown attempt late in last Sunday’s loss to Cronulla.
Ahead of Friday night’s pivotal clash against the Sydney Roosters, Hasler also revealed second-rower Frank Pritchard (ribs) and winger Curtis Rona (knee) are likely to be sidelined.
Corey Thompson and Danny Fualalo are expected to come into the team.
While Reynolds’ incident only drew a grade-one charge from the match review committee, heavy loading meant he will also be forced to sit out next week’s match against ladder leaders Brisbane, although he was set to miss 4-6 weeks with a knee injury.
The former NSW pivot missed two games earlier this year due to a dangerous throw in round one, and then also took an enforced holiday on a tripping charge from the City-Country fixture.
Late last year he pleaded guilty to two offences, tripping and dangerous contact, from the same game against the Broncos.
Asked if Reynolds was learning, Hasler said: “He is. You’ve got look at those suspensions in fairness and in context.
“The only reason why he was suspended on a chargedown – it didn’t quite work out and it was grade one – was loading.”
Hasler conceded it was disappointing to lose Reynolds, who had been building into strong form in recent weeks.
“I thought (Reynolds’) last month has been really solid,” Hasler said.
“He’s had a tough year, no doubt about that.
“But as a rugby league player, you have those years. He’ll be disappointed.
“He’s gotten to the stage now where, in line with the rules and loading, that’s a consequence.”
Hasler said he was pleased that the NRL were reviewing the loading system.
“I think a lot of the coaches have been asking that they look into the grade one. Instead of loading, maybe it becomes a fine,” he said.